Pie Crust

David and I are sharing Thanksgiving with friends in Ft. Collins this year and I wanted to make a pie. I have made a couple – a caramel pumpkin and a chocolate bourbon pecan. I made two crusts with these pies – one 50/50 (shortening and butter) and one all butter crust. I admit that I think that the 50/50 crust turned out better, so I am putting it here so that I can remember it. I got it from this recipe from the American Pie Council (who hosts recipes of good pie makers – of course…).

http://www.piecouncil.org/2016Amateur?entry=17612

Crust
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. baking powder
8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cold, in 8 pieces
4 Tbsp. vegetable shortening, cold
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1/4 c. water, cold

1. Mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse in the butter until the pieces are the size of large beans. Pulse in the shortening until mixture resembles coarse wet sand and there are no pieces larger than peas.
2. Add the vinegar to the water. Pulse in the water mixture until incorporated but before a dough ball forms.
3. Remove the dough from the processor and pat into a 4-inch disc on a sheet of plastic wrap. Wrap tightly and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. (On my first time making this crust, I put it in the freezer for about 30 minutes).
4. Roll out the pie dough out to a circle large enough to fill a 9-1/2 inch deep-dish pie pan. Line the pan with the rolled crust and crimp the edges as desired. Freeze for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425F.
5. Line the dough with parchment paper and pie weights. Bake for 18 minutes.
6. After 18 minutes of baking, remove the weights and parchment. Continue baking until the crust is golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes more.

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Orange Cake.

gluten free, paleo, totes fantastic. i saw this thing on the internet, with this simple recipe catching my eye. whole oranges? so few ingredients? what’s the deal? the deal is that this is an amazing dessert. PERIOD.

ingredients:
2 oranges
4 eggs
2 cups almond meal
3/4 cup honey (or agave)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 oz. chocolate (for topping)

preheat oven to 375.

1) boil the oranges for 90 minutes or so, until they are tender.
2) drop the oranges, peel and all, into your food processor, and blend very well.
3) add in eggs, honey, and almond meal, processing smoothly each time.
4) and in salt and baking soda.
5) pour into a 9-inch greased cake pan, and bake for 50 minutes – toothpick should come out clean, obv. this can also make between 1 and 2 dozen cupcakes, which should bake for only 25-30 minutes.
6) if you want, melt down than chocolate and throw it on top as a ganache, you know?

Coconut Milk Ice Cream.

ice cream is awesome. but finding a version that is awesome and paleo-friendly?

well, these guys have a pretty brilliant base on their site, and we are officially down with it. here’s our version:

2 cans coconut milk (full fat please)
1 packet gelatin
1 cup maple syrup
6 egg yolks
3 tbsp unsalted butter

1 – reduce the maple syrup over medium heat by about half.
2 – pour coconut milk in a large pot. sprinkle gelatin on top, let sit for a minute, then whisk thoroughly. turn heat to medium, add in the maple syrup with a pinch of salt. heat until not quite simmering.
3 – while the mixture is warming, beat the 6 egg yolks very well. when the coconut milk mixture is warm, slowly whisk in the egg mixture. don’t let the yolks cook!
4 – add the butter, again whisking well.
5 – over medium/low heat, blend with an immersion blender for about 5 minutes. this is supposed to improve the texture.
6 – let the mixture chill for several hours, then toss in the ol’ ice cream maker.

one particular version we just made added the following when the ice cream went into the machine:
3 oz. mini chocolate chips
2 oz. sliced almonds
1/2 cup almond butter

this ice cream is sweet and has a wonderfully satisfying texture. it does have a coconut taste to it, but i don’t think that bothers either of us. super effective!

Maple and Chocolate-Bacon Crunch Ice Cream

I wanted some ice cream, and I have had some regular ol’ Ben and Jerry’s but I wanted to start working on finding ice cream that fit my lifestyle, that is dairy free. So, I went looking around and I found this. It’s delicious, rich, and with a nice salty crunch anytime you get a piece of bacon.

* You will need an ice cream maker.

Ingredients

4 cups full fat coconut milk
1 pack gelatin
1 cup maple syrup
6 egg yolks
3 tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch salt
4 pieces of thick cut bacon
3-4 ounces Dark Chocolate (72%)

Instructions

1. In a small sauce pan, reduce the maple syrup by about half over medium heat. Set aside.

2. Pour coconut milk in a medium sauce pan and sprinkle gelatin on top WITHOUT stirring. Let sit for 1 minute and then whisk in. Turn the stove on medium and then whisk in the reduced maple syrup and pinch of salt. Lightly simmer the mixture until just before boiling.

3. Then in a mixing bowl off to the side, beat the egg yolks until light in color. (Not sure what to do with the leftover egg whites? Freeze them individually in an ice cube tray and then store for later use.)

4. Slowly temper the eggs with the hot maple cream mixture. Add the butter and then either return back to the stove and whisk for 5 minutes OR Vitamix that shizz for 5 minutes. I think blending it makes it lighter and silkier.

5. Remove from stove and bring to room temperature before chilling for at least 6 hours or overnight. You want it to be plenty cold before churning in the icecream maker.

6. Prior to churning, fry up 4 pieces of bacon until crisp but not burnt. If you cook the bacon in a microwave it will produce a dryer, crispier bacon that works better for this type of recipe. So if you own a microwave, use it, but it isn’t necessary.

7. Layer a baking sheet with parchment paper.

8. Melt chocolate using a double boiler and then dip bacon strips in it. (I trimmed off any excess rubbery fat from my jerky-like bacon before coating with chocolate.) Lay on baking sheet.

9. Chill for 15 minutes and then cut into small bite-sized pieces.

10. Follow the directions of your icecream maker and churn the maple ice cream. Throw in the chocolate bacon pieces towards the end of churning.

11. Pack into pints or an airtight container and freeze before serving.

Brittle.

another christmas gift was making some brittle. it wasn’t too hard, based on alton brown’s directions.

1.5 cups peanut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
3 cups sugar
1.5 cups water

clean your heavy bottomed saucepan pretty well, then brush the sides with oil to prevent chemistry weirdness from happening. place the sugar in the center of the pan, then add the water and stir to mix well. then place it over high heat. alton says to turn heat down as the boiling begins, but i found that then my mixture just never got hot enough (probably a combo of my pan and my stovetop). don’t stir or mess with the liquid, just be cool. have a baking pan lined with a silpat ready.

as the mixture begins to change color to an amber color, things are ready to go. pour in the peanuts, then immediately pour the liquid out onto the silpat. it will cool very fast, but try to press it into a single layer and keep turning back the liquid portion over the top. once it hardens, break into pieces and eat. it’s very sweet (obv) but good.

Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars.

the first day of school requires a new dessert. when in doubt, i go with rick bayless, who posted this recipe here on his excellent website.

these turned out really well. a couple notes – i used 1 cup of corn syrup and 1/2 cup molasses, as i didn’t have dark corn syrup in our cupboard. also, i will say that was nervous in step 2, because the filling was rather thin and watery – but it turned out just fine in the end, which made me glad. finally, there is no alcohol in these, but for me pecan pie is pretty closely linked with booze. in the future, i feel like i might try to add bourbon or dark rum or something. but all in all – a complete success. yum!

Makes 32  2-inch bars

Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico – One Plate at a Time

9 ounces (about 2 cups) pecan halves
One 9-ounce bag pretzel rods
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter (divided use), plus extra for buttering the pan
1/2 cup sugar
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped into pieces not larger than 1/4-inch
3/4 cup (about 4 1/2 ounces) finely chopped Mexican chocolate (like the widely available Ibarra brand)
3 tablespoons flour
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups corn syrup, preferably dark (or use a mixture of corn syrup and molasses, sorghum, Steens cane syrup or most any of the other rich-flavored syrups that are on the market)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Mexican vanilla
Powdered sugar, for garnish

Directions

1.  Toast the pecans and prepare the crumb crust.  In a 325 degree oven, toast the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet until noticeably darker and toasty smelling, about 10 minutes. Let the pecans cool to lukewarm (but keep the oven heated), then coarsely chop them by hand—1/4 to 1/2-inch pieces makes luxurious-looking bars. Scrape into a large bowl.

Use a food processor to chop the pretzels into fairly fine crumbs. (You should have 2 cups of crumbs.)  In a small saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave at 50% power, melt 2 sticks of the butter. Scrape into the processor, along with the 1/2 cup sugar. Pulse until everything is combined.  Butter the bottom and sides of two 8 x 8-inch baking pans. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of each pan, then press them firmly in place. Butter the parchment paper.  Divide the crumb mixture between the two pans and pat into an even layer covering the bottom completely.

2.  Make the filling.  To the pecans, add the 2 chocolates and the flour. Stir to combine, then divide evenly between the 2 pans. In your small saucepan or microwave, melt the remaining 2 sticks of the butter. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar, corn syrup and vanilla, and beat at medium-low speed (if your mixer has a choice, use the flat beater). Slowly add the melted butter, mixing until the batter looks smooth. Divide the batter between the two pans, pouring it slowly and evenly over the surface to ensure even distribution of the chocolate and pecans through the batter.

3.  Bake, cool and serve the bars.  Slide into the oven and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, until the center has just set. Let cool to room temperature.Cover and refrigerate until firm for easy cutting. Cut into 2-inch squares. Keep them stored in the refrigerator until just before serving. Transfer to a serving platter, dust with powdered sugar, carry to your guests and await the ooo’s and aah’s.

Kolacky.

My great-grandmother’s recipe; to try when back in Denver:

Combine in a bowl:
1 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 cup butter
1/2 tsp salt

Mix with fork or hands until mixture is crumbly.

In another bowl, beat the following:
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp cold water
3 tbsp vinegar
After beaten together, mix in 1 cup flour.

Combine the two mixtures in a bowl, and refrigerate overnight.

Roll out portions of dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes and fill centers; bake at 350-375 for 22 minutes.